None of the eight Tests between South Africa and Bangladesh before this one had gone to a fifth day, and this one didn’t either. Not properly at least. The monsoon rains, which had washed out the fourth day ensured the fifth met the same fate and poured a wet blanket over what was set up for an intriguing finale.
Despite curtailed second and third days, the match was delicately poised with South Africa almost drawing level with Bangladesh after the hosts had taken early honours. Bangladesh posted their highest total against South Africa after bowling them out for under 250 and exerted pressure for the better part of the first three days. Mustafizur Rahman, Bangladesh’s latest find in the limited-overs format, proved himself in the longest version as well with a mix of clever cutters, while Liton Das, in only his second match, showed solid temperament in building the lead.
But South Africa, who had not played a Test in more than six months, had started to shed the rust as the game went on. Dale Steyn, who ended up playing street soccer with local lads in Chittagong, found his rhythm and aggression in the latter stages of the Bangladesh innings and plucked three wickets to take his overall tally to 399. South Africa’s openers, Dean Elgar and Stiaan van Zyl, seemed to have sussed out the technique required to bat on a slow surface, which Temba Bavuma had worked out earlier. The rest of South Africa’s line-up would have wanted to emulate that.
They will have to wait for next week to do that. The second Test in Mirpur is scheduled to begin on Thursday and so is the rain. Showers have been forecast for all five days which may leave both sides wondering not whether they could have done anything differently against each other, but whether they could have done anything differently if the series was not scheduled in the wet season.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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